This game was played Sunday 18th Jan 2009 at my house. I played the Germans and John and Dave played the Soviets. I provided most of the kit but some of the PzKfw-38(t) and the PzBefWg-III came from Dave's collection.
Soviet defences east of the Neman River
3rd Company & HQ of the the 2nd Battalion 9th tank Regiment watch the woods along the bank of the Neman. the tanks with slogans are Fujimi hulls with Adapt Armour M1940 turrets, and the other is Cromwell Models
The 2nd Company was closely watching the bridge supported by 1st Company 2nd Battalion 5th Motorised Rifle Regiment. T-34 M1941's are Matchbox and Fujimi
T-28 L-10: HQ 1st Battalion 9th Tank Regiment on the west bank of the Neman, supported by stragglers from the 126th Rifle Division. FAA T-28 conversion.
A further T-28 lurks in the woods supporting the HQ
BA-6 armoured car (SHQ) defends the point where the railway exits the woods on the east bank of the Neman
Guardians of the railway bridge. The Soviet's first move was to have the engineer HQ at the bridge take command of these defenders.
The Germans arrive. 5Kp 25 Panzer Regiment. Fujimi PzKfw-38(t)
Other elements of 5Kp 25 Panzer Regiment (yes I know the numbers are wrong)
8 Kp 25 Panzer Regiment moves up to support 5Kp. Things are already going badly for the Germans as the 5Kp has failed the first morale check of the game and gone pinned.
The T-28 L10 shoots up the first PzKfw-IV. In the mean time things go from bad to worse for the 5Kp, having failed another morale check they go demoralised. It will take the battalion commander about 6 turns to gather up the PzKfw-38(t), rally them and return to the battle.
The Luftwaffe arrives. A Bf-109 ineffectually strafes the T-28's. I was hoping to make their precarious morale crumble but is was not to be. I was lucky in my air support rolls and there were plenty of Messerschmitt all game. The Stuka, however, was much more shy and only put in a couple of appearances, which was a shame for the Germans as bullets bounce off tanks
On turn 5 the German Pioneers made a lunge for the road bridge hoping to blast past the green Soviet infantry. Green or not their Molotovs made mincemeat of the accompanying truck and its passengers. However the panzers got past.
The pioneer PzKfw-I close-assaulted the bridge demolition team and paid the price. However the accompanying PzKfw-II forced the bridge engineers away with for well aimed MG fire. This stopped the Soviets blowing the bridge but the arrival of German tanks on the east bank of the Neman meant the T-34's could start moving
The Soviets react to the German seizure of the bridge by sending five T-34's to destroy the lone intruder. However as the bridge is in the woods they have to attack down the road one at a time. At close range it still isn't a fair fight but the PzKfw-II still has a chance to kill or force back the T-34.
The German FO arrives in his SdKfz-253 (MMS), however he is a long way from the fighting.
As the road bridge is blocked by multiple T-34's the Germans try for the railway bridge. The lone T-28 puts resists valiantly
German traffic jam builds up behind the PzKfw-II on the road bridge
The T-28 at the railway bridge is finally put to rest, leaving a single BA-6 and a handful of infantry holding the bridge.
However Soviet reinforcements are on the way. 2nd Company, 2nd Battalion, 9th Tank Regiment, commanded by the regimental staff moved up along the railway. T-34's are Airfix hulls with Matchbox turrets. BA-FAI is from Liberation Miniatures
The PzKfw-II of 3 Kp 58 Pioneer Bataillon managed to kill one of the T-34's. The Soviets' morale collapsed and the T-34's fell back allowing the Germans to expand their tiny bridgehead. Unfortunately was then turn 10 and the first Soviet reinforcements loomed to the north. The big jam at the bridge hampered German exploitation, they couldn't get enough panzers over the bridge fast enough to finally nail the T-34's which were being rallied by the 9th Regiments Commander.
The Germans decided to reinforce success and most of the units queuing for the railway bridge were switched to cross the road bridge
Although the Germans' attempt to cross the railway bridge has been abandoned they couldn't afford to have 2 T-34's roaming about on the east of the Neman. The PzKfw-38's puny low ROF gun wasn't really up to defeating a T-34. When the Stuka finally arrived they were tasked with bombing the Soviet tanks. Unfortunately, for the Axis, with very little success.
The 7 Panzer Division Stab draged a host of stragglers across the river, though time was running out for the Germans. As the straggler groups had no command the higher level commanders were kept busy taking command and moving the groups. This added to the traffic jams which meant that the last German stands were not over the river until turn 13 (out of 16). The FlaK track was very carelessly parked and was shot up by the last remaining Soviet weapons stand. Luckily for the Germans the Soviet airpower was noticeably absent for most of the latter part of the battle. Attack PzBefWg-III (by Dave) and an S&S SdKfz-10/5.
The last fighter. Soviet LaGG-3 (Emhar) strafes the battlefield. Luckily for the Germans the deviation roll meant it missed all the German targets
Leaving only a single PzKfw-I to fend off the BT's the the Germans gambled they would not move while the majority of the Panzers moved up to destroy the T-26's of the 4th battalion. Despite having numbers and experience on their side the battle went poorly for the Axis. The good news for the Germans was that the BT's staid put. The bad news was that the German shooting was very poor. However worse was to come. Both German companies went shaken, pretty much removing them from the end of game scoring. Although the Germans sent up their Abteilung Stab to rally the attempt failed when the commander went pinned. T-26's by Cromwell, T-34 by Fujimi
The end of the game. Most of the German armour is pinned or worse. Only a single tank got to the crossroads. One good piece of news for the axis was the T-34's at the railway bridge had been forced back to the east. Once the counting of VP's had been done it turned out to be a close game with the Soviets winning by a single point.
It was a very good game and the Germans did well to pull back after the bad morale rolls at the start of the game. It would have been interesting to see what difference it would have made if the BT's had attacked rather than lurking over the crest line, Dave preferring to keep them as a force in being (and thus scoring VP's) rather than taking on the superior panzers. Although some of the German morals rolls were poor, the Soviets had plenty of bad luck too. All the T-34's running at the critical moment, for example. Some of their shooting was particularly poor too.
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